Big Issue Malawi editor arrested by police, out on court bail


A forged letter of resignation from Malawi president Joyce Banda has led police to question Dave Namusunya who has since been given bail by the Lilongwe Magistrate Court.

The Big Issue editor in Malawi – an outspoken critic of the government – has been arrested by police in the African nation, in connection with a forged letter which claimed to have been penned by Presidnet Joyce Banda.

Dave Namusunya was arrested in Blantyre on Wednesday and held overnight in the nation’s capital Lilongwe before being granted bail in the afternoon by Lilongwe Magistrate Court.

Blantyre Police assistant public relations officer, Lameck Thembachako, confirmed the arrest of Mr Namusanya but said police in Lilongwe were doing the investigations.

Rebecca Chimjeka, a journalist with Joy Radio who has been covering the story from the capital, told The Big Issue: “Mr Namusunya has been a vocal critic of President Banda recently and the government’s eyes have been on him since.

“It is unclear what charge, if any, he is facing but if he is charged then I would expect it to go to court within a day or two.”

The forged letter at the centre of the arrest was addressed to the Speaker of the National Assembly and claimed that President Banda consulted her medical doctors leading to her “resignation.”

It went viral online in February, leading to the president offering a $ 6,000 bounty to anybody with information leading to the arrest of the person who forged it.

“This is a serious matter, and I ought to say this without mincing words,” President Banda stated previously. “The matter is in the hands of the police.”

Human rights activist Billy Mayaya, who visited Mr Namusunya yesterday, told the media that the arrest was “arbitrary”.

Mr Namusunya is the second person arrested in connection with the letter after security guard Wells Tsidya Phiri was questioned last month.

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